Earth Day 2010 New York City

NEW YORK, New York, April 21, 2010 (ENS) – For Earth Day 2010, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg today released the PlaNYC Progress Report, which details the achievements since the launch of the city’s long-term plan for a greener New York on Earth Day 2007.

PlaNYC seeks to improve the environment, build the city’s economy, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers while accommodating one million more New York residents by 2030. In PlaNYC, the city set interim milestones to be met by December 2009 for each of the 127 initiatives in the plan.

The report finds that 57 percent of the 2009 interim milestones in PlaNYC have been achieved or mostly achieved. Mayor Bloomberg says that even on many of the initiatives that did not completely achieve their 2009 interim milestone progress has been made.

For instance, while the city did not meet its goal of constructing 240 Greenstreets by December 2009, only 224 were completed. Greenstreets is a citywide program to convert paved, vacant traffic islands and medians into green spaces filled with shade trees, flowering trees, shrubs, and groundcover.

“For three years, PlaNYC has changed the way New Yorkers think about their city and the future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We must continue to tackle the challenges we face and dream big. Our city and future generations are depending on it.”

More New Yorkers are biking to work than ever before. (Photo courtesy NY Dept. of Transportation)

Under the plan there has been a nine percent decrease in citywide greenhouse gas emissions, and over 322,000 trees have been planted as part of MillionTreesNYC.

Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler said, “We’re planting a million new trees, we’ve passed the best green buildings law in America and created new parks and bikeways. We have more work to do to meet the ambitious targets in the plan, and our innovative efforts will continue.”

All of New York’s 14 wastewater treatment plants now able to meet Clean Water Act’s 85 percent pollutant removal requirement, and New York has made $115 million in new investments to improve the overall water quality and mitigate marshland loss in Jamaica Bay.

Transportation is one of the areas of greatest progress. Nineteen transit-oriented rezonings are complete, enabling the creation of 34,000 units of housing in areas well-served by transit.

At least 200 miles of bicycle lanes installed and bike access law enacted, and the number of New Yorkers who bike to work has doubled over the past three years.

One-quarter of the yellow taxi fleet has been converted to hybrid vehicles, and 40 hybrid patrol cars have been added to N.Y. Police Department fleet.

Jeff Kay, director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations said, “From the hybrid vehicles in our fleet to the energy-efficiency upgrades to city buildings, sustainable practices are becoming ingrained into the daily operations of the city.”

Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square have been transformed into pedestrian plazas. Times Square is among the sites around the city hosting celebrations of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary.

On April 22, Times Square will be the site of an all day celebration from 8 am to 4 pm with speakers including Mayor Bloomberg, Riverkeeper President Alex Matthiessen and actor Matthew Modine, who founded Bicycle for a Day. The event will be shared with millions via television broadcast, online coverage, and social networking media.

The new greener look of 8th Ave and 41st St. (Photo courtesy TSDMA)

Begining at 3 pm on April 22, the world-famous New Year’s Eve Ball will become a rotating globe of the Earth.

Not far away, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance and the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, have reinvented the corner of 8th Avenue and 41st Street at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The TerraCycle pop-up shop has taken over an empty retail space for an exhibition area and boutique shop for sustainable, responsible products and companies.

“We are thrilled to have a fantastic company like TerraCycle anchor this pop-up store to celebrate Earth Day,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins.

Actor Matthew Modine flashes the E sign (Photo courtesy Earth Day New York)

The TerraCycle Green Up Shop opened March 27 and the pop-up shop will stay open through May 21. The shop features TerraCycle’s line of over 100 products made from common waste materials such as chip bags, food wrappers, yogurt cups, glue bottles and writing instruments.

The annual New York City EarthFair will be held inside Grand Central Terminal in Vanderbilt Hall from April 19-24, 2010 and outside of Grand Central Terminal on April 23 and 24.

Organized by the nonprofit Earth Day New York, the EarthFair features Giant Earth Images, a series of environmentally-themed art and quotes from artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring. Outside, check out exhibits from green businesses and action groups, educational interactive displays, live musical entertainment, and a live-action baby Tyrannosaurus Rex from the show “Walking with Dinosaurs.”

Everyone can show their support for the environmental movement by flashing their right hand with the three center fingers sideways to form an “E,” as a symbol of their commitment to the Earth.

The E campaign is hosted at www.eday40.org, which includes a social networking component that allows participants to post their own E pictures and exchange ideas on how to put sustainability into practice.

“Three years into our 20 year plan, we have made significant strides toward meeting our long-term goals,” said New York City Sustainability Director Rohit Aggarwala. “We will continue to set aggressive goals and hold ourselves accountable for reaching them.”

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